I have been asked by a father to train his highly functioning mentally retarded daughter and his autistic son. He will be at the gym during the sessions, but I’m still a bit nervous as I’m not sure if this is in my scope of practice as a personal trainer and unsure of any contraindications. Any tips would be great!
As long as your clients have been cleared by their doctor to participate in an exercise program, you should be allowed to train them. There should be no contraindications if you are just training them since you are not performing any sort of rehabilitation. If the father is wanting you to train them, I think it is safe to assume that they don’t have any significant physical limitations. Once you have obtained their medical histories and completed your assessments, it should be business as usual, but possibly with a few more challenges.
You will want to be aware of different types, and the amount, of instruction that you need to give. For example, are they visual learners, do they do well with simple verbal cues, or do they need extensive, repeated instructions? You will want to be aware of how the two individuals respond to various social interactions and how they each respond to physical contact, as you may be required to physically correct their form. It is a good idea to discuss with their father any behaviors that may be presented in different situations and what triggers those behaviors. Also, it is important to know their frustration tolerance.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Good luck!